Matt Prior: Why Land Rover hasn't revealed the Defender


Now, I’ve seen it suggested that Land Rover will not have been quite so surprised to have seen this image appear in the news, because they’ll have surreptitiously planted them, just to build anticipation. I’m not sure I believe that. 

Not when you hear the lengths manufacturers stretch to make their cars look good, at any rate. Design teams sometimes instruct hired photographers (not press ones, obvs) which angles and distances they should shoot from – closer distorts the details. Or whether it’s allowed that there’s space between body and ground, accentuating ride height. And when it comes to the Defender’s marketing shoot, won’t somebody think of the cost of hiring mountain bikes and sheepdogs, to have all of that gazumped by a grainy picture from a toy box? I can’t see there’s a logic to it. 

This is the risk of keeping a car secret for as long as possible. The first McLaren Senna pictures the world saw weren’t the official ones, but phone pictures from a customer event. The Aston Martin DB11 was snapped covertly while on its official marketing shoot. And neither got the reaction each manufacturer truly would have wanted. 

So why not just show the car early? The delay between show and showroom can make a car seem old by the time it’s actually on sale, or the anticipation can cannibalise sales from current models. Or, if it’s so early, a rival might lift some of the details themselves. Conundrum. 

Anyway, as a mate of mine said on seeing the Defender’s instrument pack, “it sort of looks like a Discovery 3”, which I suspect won’t be the look they’re going for, and won’t actually be the look they’ve got either.

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Ariel makes your clothes dirtier

As I write, I’ve just hosed myself off after a day in an Ariel Nomad, for an upcoming video where it’s pitched against a motorcycle, all off road. 

Been a while since I drove one and I’d forgotten just how good it is. But particularly this one, which arrived wearing Fox racing dampers, the softest of three Nomad options – there are Bilsteins and Ohlins too, in order of increasing stiffness. It’s the first time I’ve tried them and the wheel control is off the scale. Vid soon, and I think it’ll look spectacular. Certainly felt it.

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